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Calvary Competes in the Central Regional Tournament

Saturday afternoon, Calvary University rolled into the Central Regional Tournament held at Kansas Christian College excited and ready to play volleyball. Before the contest against Spurgeon, regional awards were given out to the players. Calvary University had four girls receive rewards for 1st team and 2nd team. Jillian Nipple, Kenleigh Elder, and Leah Grady received 2nd team all region. Alli Edwards received 1st team all-region.

In their first match, Calvary University, 2nd seed in the tournament played the number 3 team, Spurgeon College. “It is very difficult beating a team three times,” said Head Coach Jojo Wilkes during the pre-game huddle. “It’s a mental game that each one of you will have to fight and stay engaged in. Don’t rely on the last two wins, but fight like you want this one.” The Warriors came out focused and ready to compete. Jillian Nipple spread the offense well with 5 hitters having 6 kills or more. The Warriors served aggressively, leaving the game with 8 service aces. “As a team, we all did a good job of staying out of our heads and playing our game,” said defensive specialist Brooke Behlen. The Warrior defense lead by Alli Edwards allowed for a strong offense. “A stand out player to me was Alli Edwards,” said setter Basia Nesbett-Tucker. “She is always consistent with her passing, and she constantly gives 110% in defending her side of the court. Alli’s passing was spectacular against both Spurgeon and Manhattan, and she never gave up.” The Warriors were able to defeat the #3 seed in a three game sweep as they got ready to play the championship match against Manhattan Christian College.

Calvary University vs. Spurgeon College

Set 1: 25-18

Set 2: 25-19

Set 3: 25-17

Prior to the start of the Championship match, Coach Jojo encouraged the team to keep Manhattan’s scoring runs low. If the team was successful in doing that then they would be in the game. “As a team, we played unafraid and with a lot of confidence,” said defensive specialist Brooke Behlen. “The offense was taking huge swings at big moments and using Manhattan’s block like we worked on in practice. The defense was making insane plays over and over, keeping us in the game.” The Warriors fought hard, back and forth, point for point with both teams trying to do all they could to get and keep the advantage.

“We all did an amazing job of staying engaged and energized throughout the whole game,” said Miriam McCubbin. “The teammates that stood out were Leah Grady and Lindsey Atcheson. During the game, both of them did an excellent job of seeing the open spots and placing the ball there.” Enabling the tremendous defensive effort, setter Jillian Nipple was able to put the ball where the hitters needed it to get the kill. Leah Grady led the team with 12 kills followed by Kenleigh Elder with 9 kills. “I thought we did an incredible job defensively against Manhattan, specifically in the back row,” said middle blocker Nora Gianinetti. “There were so many plays where the back row was able to read the hit and get an amazing pass up which set the tone for the whole play. Good defense and serve receive led to awesome sets from Jill allowing well placed hits and tips in the front row. I think that execution paired with energy is what led to such close scores.”

Calvary University vs. Manhattan Christian College

Set 1: 22-25

Set 2: 21-25

Set 3: 12-25

Even though the team lost in the Regional Championship match, they competed hard and made Calvary University proud. Calvary fans filled the stands, cheering the team on. “In 22 years of being a part of Calvary athletics, I haven’t ever seen them have the opportunity to go to both the conference and regional championships,” said Athletic Director Tressa Barnes. “It has been a blessing to watch these girls battle it out and fearlessly compete by working together as one unit.”

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